Houghton Christmas Murder Case Rumbles on in Court as Accused insists he didn’t mean to “harm” his victim

A Newbottle business owner accused of murdering his sister’s partner on Christmas Day last year told a court he did not intend to harm him.

Adam Jenkins, who owned a bricklaying business, is accused of cutting Simon Birch’s throat when trouble flared at his house in Newbottle, near Houghton-le-Spring, after a Christmas family gathering. Jenkins claimed Simon attacked his sister, Emma and punched him, before the alleged attack, which he said he no longer remember.

The Jury heard Jenkins was trapped in his kitchen by his partner and he is accused of then going outside where Simon was and killing him with one of three knives he is said to have armed himself with. Giving evidence for the first time, Jenkins claimed he became friends with Simon after he began a relationship with Emma.

But he then said his behaviour changed after he became involved with drink and drugs.

He told the jury: “His behaviour changed dramatically, it was a bit like Jekyll and Hyde. It would be like he turned into the Hulk, he was completely off the rails and out of control.”

Jenkins said one week Simon would be fine and the family would be making plans and the next week: “He would be screaming and shouting and Emma is a s*** and and he’s going to get revenge on gangs he had trouble with. He was a totally and utterly changed man.”

He added: “He would be angry, out of character, bad tempered. It felt like he wanted to kill someone. He would get on about Emma and his whole demeanour changed.”

Jenkins that he was a “middle man” between Emma and Simon and he became aware “domestic violence had started” between the couple. Asked how he felt about that, he replied: “I felt a bit done in. I didn’t want my sister getting hurt but I couldn’t stop it. They were in love and she would always take him back whatever he had done.

“They both confided in me. It was hard. I’m not one for lying, I had to agree with Emma and Simon. If I disagreed with Emma she probably would’ve stopped talking to me and if I told Simon he would probably have gone up to mine to probably given me a good hiding or damaged my property.” He said he would try not to get involved.

Jenkins added that Simon would often say “I’m the man, I am a ram”, which he claimed was his way of indicating he was a “hardman and a gangster”.

He said there came a point on Christmas night when Simon attacked Emma, grabbing her hair and then “upper-cutting her” in the face. He said: “I was shouting ‘You’re going to kill her, you’re going to kill her’.

“He hit her and she fell down. He wasn’t saying anything. I could see the blood round her head and on the floor and I was saying ‘you’ve f killed her’.

“I could see his face, it was horrible. That’s when he picked up a toy car and threw it at me, it hit me in the face and neck area.

“He started walking towards me and threw a couple of punches. I woke up on the end of the sofa and he was just getting off the top of me.”

Jenkins said his partner ended up pushing him in the kitchen and shut him in and he couldn’t get out as the handle was faulty. He said he was trying to get out into the passage, where he could hear people screaming.

He told the jury: “I knew what he was doing to my sister and I thought he would’ve carried on doing it in the passage and I was trying to get back in to help my family. It was horrible, nobody would open the door. I was kicking it and couldn’t get in.”

Jenkins said he can remember seeing a kitchen drawer open and the next thing he remembers is Simon shouting at him and approaching him outside and punched him to the chest. He said he can’t remember taking or having knives.

Jeremy Dien KC, acting as defense for Jenkins, asked: “Did you intend to kill Mr Birch?” He replied: “100% no.” He also denied intending to harm him.

Mr Dien said: “It was put to you by the police you deliberately aimed for his neck, the most vulnerable part of his body. Is that something you did?” He replied: “No I didn’t.”

He said he can remember his partner screaming his name and screaming to ring an ambulance, which he did but said he can’t remember what he said on the phone. He added: “I still didn’t know what had happened to him. I wasn’t aware I had done anything to Simon.”

Jenkins, 35, denies murdering Simon, 39. The trial continues.